MANAGER Darren Ferguson’s first home game in charge of Doncaster Rovers ended in victory with Everton loanee Conor Grant scoring on his debut.
Striker Andy Williams got the second after the break as Rovers got an important win after two defeats on the road and were rewarded for a purposeful second-half performance.
Ferguson gave Grant a start in midfield in place of Richie Wellens but another player joining the club from Goodison, former Espanyol Brazilian defender Felipe Mattioni, 27, was left waiting for FA clearance.
Rovers were without striker Keshi Anderson for a third successive game due to a foot problem as Ferguson went with Williams and Nathan Tyson up front.
James Coppinger equalled a Rovers all-time appearances record of 468 when he was named in midfield. It matched that of striker turned full-back Colin Douglas in two spells for the club between 1981 and 1993.
Goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann made two decent saves for Rovers as Colchester got on top in the opening half-hour but it was Grant who struck the opening blow in the 41st minute, curling the ball beyond Jamie Jones into the top corner after being set up by Coppinger.
It was a terrific strike but had come against the run of play and Rovers went in 1-0 ahead at the break.
Coppinger almost made it 2-0 on the break through the middle but delayed his shot too long as Tosin Olufemi challenged. However, Coppinger set up the 64th minute second after turning Olufemi on the touchline and bearing down on goal before squaring for Williams to sidefoot home.
Stuckmann clawed off the line a powerful header from Darren Ambrose, who was injured in the process and had to withdraw.
Tyson almost made it 3-0 but was inches away from latching onto a through ball down the middle.
Ferguson used all three substitutes changing to a more defensive 4-4-2 but Rovers should still have scored again when replacement striker Curtis Main missed the target from close range.
Ferguson said: “We started a bit nervously but looked a different side once we grew in confidence.
“It’s all about them having belief and I’m getting to know more about the players all the time.
“I get the impression responsibility has weighed heavy on their shoulders but I’m here now to take that off them.
“They just need to relax, leave that to me and not worry about anything.
“I just think there is room for massive improvement in the side and we’ve got a week now to work on things after having three away games in seven days. “Getting the first goal was huge.
“There are loads of areas where we can improve but this was all about getting a result and, when we had to put our bodies on the line to protect the score late in the game, we did that.”